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What is Sociology?

Have you ever wondered what causes outbreaks of public violence such as the London riots? Have you ever asked yourself why children from wealthier backgrounds significantly outperform those from poorer backgrounds in the education system? Have you ever wondered why there are so few women in British prisons, and in general, why women commit less crime than men do?

All three of these issues are topics covered in the A Level Sociology course and as you might imagine, they are issues that provoke much debate and disagreement! If you are interested in the wider debates and arguments that the above issues raise, then sociology may be the subject for you.

What Will You Study?

During your first year, you will study ‘Education’, examining topics such as why certain groups perform better than others within the education system and how government policies affect the education system.

You will also study ‘Families and Households’, debating issues such as the reasons behind recent trends in marriage, divorce and cohabitation and what it means to be a ‘child’ in Britain today and how has this changed over the years.

During your second year, you will also study the topics, ‘Crime and Deviance’ and ‘Beliefs in Society’. You will examine the reasons why people commit crimes and why certain groups within society appear to commit a disproportionate amount of crime. For Beliefs in Society, you will look at whether religion helps to maintain a stable society or cause conflict and change, and consider issues like why the elderly appear to be more religious than the young are.

What Next?

Many of our students go onto study sociology or criminology at some of the UK’s top universities including Durham, York, Lancaster and Leeds. Sociology will open a range of avenues in numerous employment areas. Many students go onto legal professions, the civil service, local government, teaching, the police, social work and social research, to name a few.

Exam Board


Entry Requirements

At least two 5s and three 4s at GCSE, including at least a 4 in English Language.

Course Type

A Level

What other subjects go well with this subject?

Psychology, Criminology, Law, History, Politics, English, Philosophy and Geography.

Did you know?

Martin Luther King, Jr. earned his first degree in Sociology before pursuing the study of Theology, becoming a civil rights leader and activist, and receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.


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